Governor signs law creating new retirement program for small business employees | The Latest from WDEL News

Thousands of Delaware workers are a step closer to secure retirement savings.

Gov. Carney on Thursday signed legislation establishing the Delaware Expanding Access for Retirement and Necessary Saving program – or EARNS.

The measure requires businesses with more than five employees that don’t currently offer a retirement plan to participate through a simple payroll process.

The Office of the State Treasurer said it is now beginning to build the infrastructure for the retirement program, including hiring an executive director to guide the program.

The Delaware EARNS Program Board will also be established to oversee the initial design and implementation of the program. Board members will include the state treasurer, secretary of finance, insurance commissioner, secretary of labor, and chairperson of the Plans Management Board or their designee, as well as two members of the public chosen by the governor.

“We’ve worked long and hard to make this program a reality for Delawareans who lack access to an employer-sponsored retirement program,” said State Treasurer Colleen Davis.

It’s estimated that nearly 150,000 Delaware workers would currently be eligible for the new program.

Carney hopes the program will help solve one of the biggest economic challenges facing the state – finding workers to fill open jobs.

AARP Delaware was a big advocate for creation of the program. 

“The pandemic has shown how vital it is for Americans to have savings to depend on. We must make it easier for workers to save so they can take control of their future,” said AARP Delaware State Director Lucretia Young. “AARP was pleased to work alongside our State Treasurer to help provide an easy pathway for workers to start building a safety net and grow the savings they need for a more secure future.”

More information about Delaware EARNS can be found at